Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Using Multiple Data Sources

In the articles on this blog I've shown maps I've created using a desk top GIS mapping system, as well as the interactive Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator. However, this is just one of many resources that need to be used to build a better understanding of the comprehensive problems caused by where you live or where you were born. I feel there needs to be a generation of activists who create map stories, drawing upon all of these resources.

As I find new map portals I add them to the web library that I've been building since 1998. Then I write a blog article here, or on the Tutor/Mentor Blog, to draw attention to the resource.

The map at the left is from the 2014 Annie E. Casey Foundation report titled "Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children" Visit the web site and view the report, as well as a recording of a panel discussion held to announce the release of the report and discuss its findings.

This second map is from a Civil Rights Project report titled "New York State’s Extreme School Segregation: Inequality, Inaction and a Damaged Future"

This third image is from the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps web site, showing health disparities in Illinois counties.

Browse this blog and you'll find links to many other map resources. Visit this section of the web library for more examples of mapping and visualization.


Each of these web sites is a tremendous resource, but they only tell part of a story. If we're to build public will to solve the problems indicated in these reports, in all of the places shown on the map, we need a massive increase in the number of people telling map stories on a daily basis, connecting maps and data from many sources into stories that motivate more people to give time, talent, dollars and votes to solve the problems these reports show to be embedded in many parts of the country.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A little luck could go a long way

In 1997 I had to strokes of good luck. HSBC Worldwide selected my organization to share in its year-end holiday gift, which amounted to nearly $60,000. At the same time, an anonymous donor gave $50,000 to rebuild the GIS mapping capacity of the Tutor/Mentor Connection. As a result, this blog and all of the map stories created since 2008 were made available and the interactive Chicago tutor/mentor program locator was created.

Unfortunately that good luck was followed by seven years of bad luck, starting with the financial melt down that resulted in loosing HSBC support for our technology strategies, and ultimately, looking the funding to keep paying for a map maker and continued upgrades to the program locator technology, and then the 2011 decision of the Cabrini Connections Board to discontinue its support of the Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy.

Despite all of this I've continued to publish map stories, build the network of support for tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and other cities, maintain a web library that records more than 9,000 visitors a month, and host a spring and fall Tutor/Mentor Leadership & Networking Conference in Chicago.

It's about time for some good fortune to come this way and maybe today will be the beginning.

Yet, while I seek financial and talent support for my own efforts, I know nearly 70% of the other tutoring and/or mentoring programs in Illinois are also seeking the same support. Thus, I keep pointing to the program locator, and this list of Chicago youth organizations, hoping they all have the luck of the Irish and receive the financial and talent support they need.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Create your own story maps - a tutorial

I started using maps to tell stories in 1993. Back then the technology to create a map story was beyond reach of most people and the distribution channel needed to get your map story in front of a desired audience was also closed to most people.

Much has changed since then. Here's an article on the GIS and Science blog showing how anyone can create their own map stories.

Here's a tutorial showing how to use the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator to create maps focused on helping volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs grow in high poverty areas.

As you create your maps and share them on blogs, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. share them with us via Twitter or by posting a comment on this blog.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Creating Map Stories Following Negative News

This album shows some of the map stories created by Tutor/Mentor Connection since 1993 as part of a strategy intended to increase attention on volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring as a strategy for engaging more adults in a wide range of long-term efforts to help kids stay safe in non-school hours, expand their social capital, and keep moving through school toward jobs and careers.


Find more photos like this on Tutor/Mentor Connection
In this blog, the Tutor/Mentor Blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute,LLC site you'll see numerous examples of maps included in stories.

In this article we describe how youth from many different schools, non school programs, colleges and faith groups could create their own map-stories, focusing on their own school neighborhood or community.

If you are already applying these ideas please share your web address so we can point to you and learn from you. If you'd like our help in developing this strategy, introduce yourself.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Map Directory update by Intern

In 2008-2009 I was able to build an interactive Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator Map/Directory that could be used by leaders in Chicago to help build and sustain mentor-rich, non-school tutor/mentor programs in high poverty neighborhoods. This image was created by combining layers of information showing poverty, poorly performing schools, existing programs and community assets, like banks then zooming in to show a specific part of Chicago.

We ran out of money in 2009 and have not been able to update the technology, or the content, in the years since then, except for keeping the information about tutor/mentor programs (the green stars) current.

One section of the Program Locator focuses on Assets, such as banks, insurance companies, faith groups, colleges, hospitals, etc. who could be strategically involved in supporting the on-going operations of tutor/mentor programs in sections of the city where they have facilities.

When we built the Program Locator in 2008-9 we included locations of eight banks. Since then some have expanded, and some have gone out of business, such as Park National Bank. Since I was not able to update the program locator myself, we've had to live with this outdated information.

I've had interns from Illinois Institute of Technology working with me for six week periods in Jan-Feb and May-June since 2006. On this page you can see work they've done to communicate strategies via various visualizations.


One of our Jan-Feb 2014 interns volunteered to look at the Program Locator, and after three weeks he has updated the Banks section, adding six additional banks and replacing Park National with one more.

Now when you look at the Banks section of the asset maps you'll see a much richer range of banks. I hope that neighborhood groups and volunteer teams from the banks will use this information to bring together networks of business, non profit, educator, faith groups and other community assets and leaders to develop an understanding of the current level of tutor/mentor programs available in different neighborhoods, and to build on-going strategies to help existing and new programs constantly learn from each other and from effective practices around the world, so each program in every neighborhood of the Chicago region can be considered "world class" in helping kids through school and into 21st century jobs and careers.

The purpose of the Interactive Program Locator is that when bad things happen in a city neighborhood, and get feature and editorial attention in the major newspapers, a map can be created showing where the incident happened, and showing businesses, hospitals, faith groups, etc. in the neighborhood who should be working together to make mentor-rich non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning programs more available in the neighborhood where the incident occurred, and in other neighborhoods with similar history. Until the interactive Program Locator was created in 2008-09 we were making map stories and displaying them like you see in this graphic.

If you're doing this work join us at the next Tutor/Mentor Conference to share what you're doing. If you're a business or volunteer who wants to support the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC's mapping strategies, introduce yourself on Twitter, Facebook and/or Linked in. Email tutormentor2@earthlink.net to offer your time, talent AND/or financial support to booster this effort.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Using Maps and Media To Draw Resources to Neighborhoods

Today I posted a story on the Tutor/Mentor Blog showing how I've been creating map stories like this one since 1993, in an effort to build greater attention for tutor/mentor programs in neighborhoods where incidents of violence are highlighted in the media.

I've been doing map stories with the help of volunteers, and occasionally with paid staff, since launching the Tutor/Mentor Connection. Since I don't have advertising dollars, my strategy has been to follow news stories where violence, gangs and/or poorly performing schools have been giving front page, or major emphasis on inside pages of the Chicago Tribune or the Chicago SunTimes, which are the two major papers in Chicago, each reaching several hundred thousand readers a day.

If the media story builds public interest and a desire for readers to get involved, map-stories like these can tell "The Rest of The Story", which is what the media do not do consistently include in their stories. We can show indicators of why shootings are taking place, or why students perform poorly in public schools, and we can show if there are any non-school, volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs in the area around where the story took place. We can also show some of the businesses, faith groups, hospitals and/or universities that share the same geography, and who should be strategically involved in making high quality, constantly improving tutor/mentor programs available in these areas.

Youth in middle and high schools throughout the Chicago region, and in other cities could be creating these stories, and could be involved in collecting and maintaining information about non-school programs in different neighborhoods. This article and this article offer suggestions for getting young people involved.

See additional map stories here and in the Tutor/Mentor Map Gallery.

If you're implementing this strategy, share a link to your own blog articles and connect with us on Twitter or Facebook.